12 Tasty Paleo Lunch Recipes and Ideas

Paleo Diet Lunch Recipes and Ideas

Lunch can be a tricky meal on the Paleo diet because so many of us eat it away from home. Restaurants or school cafeterias often have few Paleo-friendly options, and eating out every day can get expensive. By packing your own Paleo lunch (and don’t forget Paleo snacks too!) you can save money and make sure you’ll always have healthy food to keep your energy up through the afternoon. The Paleo lunch ideas below are a great way to get started.

1. Slow-cooker roast beef with asparagus and cauliflower “potatoes”

Cauliflower is a filling and nutritious vegetable choice that can easily stand in for traditional starchy options like rice or potatoes. This meal is great hot or cold, and easy to reheat if necessary. You can easily make it beforehand and leave it in the fridge to grab as you leave in the morning.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 45 minutes of work; 8 hours while the roast beef cooks.
  • Serves:5
  • Ingredients
    • 3 pounds of chuck roast
    • 1 large head of cauliflower
    • 1 pound asparagus
    • garlic, black pepper, oregano, and basil to taste
    • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
    • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Directions
    1. (do this step the night before) Put the beef in a slow-cooker, add the spices, and set the cooker on low.
    2. After 8 hours, remove the beef from the slow-cooker. Set it aside.
    3. Boil 1-2 cups of water in a pot big enough to hold the cauliflower.
    4. Chop the cauliflower up into cubes approximately one inch square. Boil it for 10-12 minutes, or until it’s very soft.
    5. While the cauliflower is boiling, grease a frying pan with the coconut oil. Chop the ends off the asparagus spears, throw them into the frying pan, and cook until tender.
    6. Set the asparagus aside.
    7. Drain the water from the cauliflower pot (leave the cauliflower in). Mash the cauliflower with a fork until it has the texture of mashed potatoes.
    8. Add the butter and a little garlic and pepper to the cauliflower and stir. You can also add whatever other herbs you like – spring onions are great in this dish.

2. Roast beef mushroom wraps and steamed broccoli

These wraps are a tasty Paleo lunch recipe hot or cold, and a great way to adjust meal size for different appetites. You can substitute green or yellow peppers, or add other veggies once you know the basic recipe.

    • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 30 minutes
    • Serves:1
    • Ingredients
      • 5-6 sheets of thinly-sliced roast beef (you can buy this at any deli counter)
      • 1 large Portobello mushroom
      • 1 large red pepper
      • 1 cup broccoli
      • 1 tbsp. coconut oil or butter
    • Directions
      1. Cut the Portobello mushroom into thin strips. Cut the pepper into slices about ¾” wide.
      2. Grease a frying pan with the coconut oil or butter, and fry the mushroom and pepper slices until they’re tender.
      3. Remove the mushroom and pepper slices from the pan, and set them aside to cool.
      4. Wrap two mushroom slices and two pepper slices in each sheet of roast beef, and secure with a toothpick.
      5. Chop and steam the broccoli.

3. Roast Cornish Hen with Root Veggies

Cornish hens are like miniature chickens – a great Paleo lunch idea for one very hungry lumberjack, or a pair of friends to share. This recipe takes very little time to prepare, since you can cook the veggies and the hens in the same pan.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 1 ½ hours
  • Serves:1-2
  • Ingredients
    • 1 Cornish hen
    • 1 small sweet potato
    • 2-3 carrots
    • ½ small turnip
    • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
    • Spices to taste (1 tbsp. each of lemon-pepper and basil is a safe way to start)
  • Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
    2. Cut the vegetables into cubes about ½” on a side.
    3. Rub the hen with the olive oil and spice mixture.
    4. Stuff the hen with the root vegetables.
    5. Grease a baking sheet, and roast the hen for 1 hour. If you have more vegetables than you can fit inside the hen, just place them on the baking sheet to roast there (you may need to take them out before the hen – check after 30 minutes).

4. Easy-breezy salmon salad

This delicious Paleo lunch recipe is a midsummer treat – flavorful salmon with crunchy cucumbers and almost nothing to clean afterwards. It’s perfect for hot Saturday afternoons, or a picnic meal to bring on an adventure.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 30 minutes
  • Serves:4
  • Ingredients
    • 1 can of ready-to-eat salmon (you can buy wild caught salmon at any health food store)
    • 1 large cucumber
    • 1 cup spinach
    • 1 small tomato
    • 2 medium lemons
    • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Directions
    1. Chop the cucumber, spinach, and tomato into small pieces.
    2. Whisk the olive oil and vinegar together, and sprinkle over the vegetables.
    3. Add the salmon and stir well.
    4. Chop the lemons into quarters and squeeze onto the salad.

5. Paleo Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are easy to transport and fun to eat. Paleo lunch recipes can’t include the traditional rice and beans, but these meat-stuffed peppers are just as delicious, and much better for you!

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves:3
  • Ingredients
    • 3 large bell peppers (any color)
    • 1 pound of ground beef
    • 1 large onion
    • 2 large tomatoes
    • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
    • garlic, basil, or other spices to taste (try chili powder for a spicier lunch!)
  • Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Remove the stems from the peppers, and pull out the core and the seeds.
    3. Chop the onion and tomatoes.
    4. Grease a frying pan, and throw in the veggies, spices, and ground beef. Cook until the beef is completely brown
    5. Take the veggies and beef off the stove, and spoon the mixture into the peppers.
    6. Bake the stuffed peppers for approximately an hour, or until the peppers are tender.

 

6. Mussels and kale with butter

This quick and savory Paleo lunch unites two of nature’s most nutritious foods for a meal packed with iron, B vitamins, and other essential nutrients. If you don’t like the taste of kale, you could just as easily replace it with broccoli or any other vegetable.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 15 minutes
  • Serves:3
  • Ingredients
    • 2 lbs. mussels
    • 4 cups kale
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • ½ tbsp. garlic; ½ tbsp. oregano
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions
    1. Chop the kale into salad-sized pieces.
    2. Bring approximately 1 cup of water to a boil.
    3. Pour in the mussels and add the spices. Cover the pot and let steam for 5-10 minutes.
    4. Open the lid, and take out the mussels. Throw in the kale and cover again.
    5. Wait 1-2 minutes for the kale to cook.
    6. Throw out any mussels with shells that are still closed.
    7. Drain the pot. Pour the mussels and kale into serving bowls, and top with butter, salt, and pepper to taste.

 

7. Vegetable Stir-Fry with Chicken

A stir-fry is a great Paleo lunch idea because it’s so versatile: you can use almost any vegetable you have on hand and come up with a great-tasting meal. The one thing not to eat in your stir-fry is soy sauce, since soy sauce contains wheat. Most health food stores have a variety of gluten-free soy sauce alternatives to choose from.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 30-45 minutes
  • Serves:2
  • Ingredients
    • 1 pound of chicken breast
    • 2 cups Bok Choy
    • 1 medium green pepper
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. powdered ginger
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Directions
    1. Cut the chicken breast into strips approximately ½” wide.
    2. Over medium-high heat, grease a large frying pan with the coconut oil and toss in the chicken strips.
    3. Chop the vegetables into bite-sized chunks, and throw them into the pan with the chicken.
    4. Add the salt and ginger, and any other spices you like.
    5. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is done all the way through (when you cut open a strip, you shouldn’t see any pink).

 

8. Paleo Bento

A bento box is a traditional Japanese lunchbox divided into several smaller compartments – since the food in a bento box doesn’t rely on bread to hold it together, it’s great for Paleo lunches. Try the combination below, or mix and match with your own favorite foods!

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 20-30 minutes
  • Serves:1
  • Ingredients
    • ¼ pound ground beef
    • 10 grape leaves
    • 1 large lemon
    • garlic, salt, and pepper to taste
    • 1 small onion
    • ½ avocado
    • ½ orange
    • 1-2 ounces mixed nuts.
  • Directions
    1. Chop the onion into very small pieces
    2. Mix the onion, ground beef, and spices
    3. Divide the beef mixture into 10 equal parts
    4. For each grape leaf, lay the grape leaf flat on a cutting board, and put one part of the beef mixture in the middle. Roll the grape leaf up around the beef mixture.
    5. When you have rolled all the grape leaves, pack them into the bottom of a pan, making sure they’re packed tight.
    6. Slice the lemon into thin slices, and cover the grape leaves with the slices. If you have too many grape leaves for one layer, you can put another layer on top of the lemon slices.
    7. Fill the pot with water, and simmer for 15 minutes. Then take out the leaf wraps and let them cool.
    8. Slice the avocado and orange into bite-sized pieces.
    9. Arrange the grape leaves, avocado, orange, and nuts in the bento containers.

 

9. Paleo Comfort Lunch

On a long, cold winter’s day there’s nothing more comforting than a steaming hot bowl of rich, hearty soup. This Paleo soup recipe can be modified to include your favorite vegetables.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 30 minutes of prep; 2 hours to cook on the stove or 6-7 hours in a slow-cooker.
  • Serves:6
  • Ingredients
    • 2 large tomatoes (or 1 can of tomato paste)
    • 2 large onions
    • 3 cups kale
    • 1 large sweet potato
    • 3-4 large carrots
    • 2-3 medium turnips
    • 2-3 bay leaves
    • salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano to taste.
  • Directions
    1. Chop all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
    2. Add the vegetables and spices to a pot (or slow cooker)
    3. For stovetop cooking, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let simmer for 2 hours.
    4. For a slow cooker, turn on low and let cook for 6-7 hours.

 

10. Oven-baked Cod with Sliced Tomatoes

Cod is a very versatile fish that can be prepared in a number of ways for a delicious Paleo lunch. This recipe pairs it with tomato slices for a light, summery meal.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 30 minutes
  • Serves:2
  • Ingredients
    • 2 8-oz cod fillets
    • 1 large tomato
    • 3 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 medium lemon
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Rub the cod fillets with olive oil on both sides.
    3. Place the cod on the baking sheet, and cook for 10-15 minutes.
    4. Slice the tomatoes into thin slices.
    5. Once the cod is done, arrange the cod and tomatoes on a plate. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
    6. Cut the lemon into quarters, and squeeze over the cod.

 

11. Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Salads are delicious and nutritious, but if you have a tough job or like to work out in the morning, you need Paleo lunch ideas that will fill you up. These sweet potatoes do the trick, and they’re fairly easy to transport as well.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 45 minutes to an hour
  • Serves:2
  • Ingredients
    • 2 large sweet potatoes
    • 1lb ground meat of your choice
    • 1 small onion
    • ½ green pepper
    • 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and chili powder
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tbsp. coconut oil or butter
  • Directions
    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
    2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and bake them face down on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes, or until they’re soft to the touch.
    3. Chop the onion and pepper into small cubes. Grease a frying pan, and sautée the veggies for 1-2 minutes.
    4. Add the ground meat and spices, and cook until the meat is no longer pink, even in the middle.
    5. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, and scoop out the insides (be careful to leave the skins intact!)
    6. Add the sweet potato insides to the meat and veggies, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
    7. Take the pan off the stove. Scoop out the meat/veggie/sweet potato mix, and spoon it back into the potato skins.
    8. Put the re-loaded potatoes back into the oven, and bake for a few more minutes.

 

12. Steak Salad

Salad with chicken breast is the standard menu for anyone on a diet, but this Paleo-friendly lunch recipe replaces chicken with steak for a more flavorful and nutritious salad. This meal is easy on the budget, too, since it uses leftover steak as the main protein component.

  • Cooking Time:(including prep, cooking, and cleanup): 15 minutes
  • Serves:1
  • Ingredients
    • 8oz. of leftover steak
    • 2 cups mixed greens
    • 1 small green pepper
    • (optional) 1-2 hard-boiled eggs
    • 2 tbsp. mustard
    • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    • pepper to taste
  • Directions
    1. (optional – if you like your meat warm) Microwave the steak until warm.
    2. Slice the steak into thin strips
    3. Slice the pepper into thin strips.
    4. (optional – if you’re using eggs) Chop the eggs into bite-sized chunks.
    5. Top the greens with the steak and the pepper (and eggs, if you’re using them).
    6. In a separate bowl, mix the mustard and vinegar together to make the dressing. Pour over the salad.

 

 

 

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